writing

FINALLY

So Amazon FINALLY got back to me from the correct department to clarify my questions. Only took two weeks 😛

Now I have a  new decision to make: Do I go with Kindle Direct Publishing, or do I go with Smashwords? I suppose I could go with both, but to be honest, I’d rather go with one at first and then branch out if I want to.

I’ve already decided what the title of my book is and my husband and I were working on cover art last night. He went to school before he joined the military to be in graphic design so it was fun watching him trying to remember how to do some things.

I managed to do some serious editing last night and now I’m on page 20/375! Although I might go back once more. I plan to do one run of editing, hopefully by the end of this month, and then another run while I’m formatting in March so that I can publish in April and make sure it is the best damn thing I can produce.

I just need more time. Time seems to be a commodity that is rare and valuable. It’s like a secret item in an RPG that you can only get after you defeat the second-last super boss of the game. And you can only defeat that boss if you are at the appropriate level and if you aren’t, you better just run away and come back another day!

Things eating into my limited time:

  • My Day Job
  • My commute which is causing me to go to bed early so I can get up at an obnoxious time
  • Trying to determine that fine balance between working on my book at home while still spending quality time with my family

Ugh.

Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever be done. If I’ll just give up and put it to the side as I have so many times before.

But then I remember my resolution for this year:

“Finish What I Start”

And I have started working on it, so I WILL FINISH IT GODDAMN IT!

Even if it KILLS ME or deprives me of sleep I WILL FINISH THIS PROCESS FOR AT LEAST ONE BOOK THIS YEAR!

Posted by Sarah Jayne in My Book Stuff, 0 comments

The Drawbacks of a Day Job

The time for editing is seemingly shorter and shorter.

I tend to write these posts at my day job as I usually arrive obnoxiously early and have nothing to do. That’s just the way traffic works for me.

IT’S SO SLOW AND BORING at my day job these days. I work for a educational institution as an advisor for prospective students. Since the May term is not one of our higher intakes, no one is coming in these days.

Which makes me want to work on my story. Which puts me in a dilemma. I have thought about uploading the story I want to publish by April to Google Drive so that I can work on it in my downtime (which seems to be all the time). But then I know I would feel guilty doing “personal work” on “work time”. Which is frustrating because I’m not doing anything anyway, so why not work on a personal project?

Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!!!!

Why do I have to be such a good worker and pour my everything into my day job?! Maybe because I have bills to pay and it’s impossible for my family if I were to not work full time.

*sigh*

On the good side, I’ve been looking into SmashWords more and I’m really leaning towards publishing with them. I have to review the tax information as I’m Canadian and they are an American company. I haven’t had time to review all their FAQs yet, but I think I might do that on my downtime.

This morning is going to be a staffing gong-show. (Gong-show is a phrase I started hearing a lot when I moved to Alberta from Ontario. It would be the same as “shit show” or “insanity”. There you go. Nuances of Canadian language lesson right there).

I’ve also FINALLY decided on a proper title for my book. The title I had been using was really more of a file name so I could save it under something and not get it mixed up with my other work.

It’s going to be called Black and Red.

“But Sarah, that’s not a very fantasy-adventure-like title,” you say.

That’s okay. Just because I write in that genre doesn’t mean I’m going to have an over-obvious title. One of my other stories (the one I’ll work on publishing next) has a more “fantasy-like” title. Black and Red just suits this one. When you read it (if you read it) you’ll understand more.

Well, it’s almost time for my day job to being. Better crank Styx while I can and dance in my cubicle.

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 0 comments

Self-Publishing Platforms

During my adventures in publishing, I am also checking out various platforms to do this on.

At the moment, I have been seriously considering Amazon Direct to Kindle Publishing. It is free to do, targets a massive market, but the major drawback is that it is restricted to those with a Kindle. And now that I am having such a problem getting part of the agreement clarified, my excitement is dying down rapidly.

I know there are other places I can do this through, but with Amazon being such a huge and ‘trusted’ name, it’s hard to look at something I have never heard of before and seriously consider it.

One site I have checked out is called SmashWords.com. They seem legitimate and their market is broader than Amazon as they can publish on various eReading devices and are affiliated with other stores such as Barnes and Noble, Sony, Kobo, Apple iStore etc. This would allow me to reach a bigger audience but they are also a place I have never heard of before, so I am skeptical as I’m sure many people would be.

I have been told that Indigo offers some sort of service like Amazon does and as a Canadian I would like to explore that, however I have found very little information regarding this.

As many new authors (or indie authors as I am hearing them being referred to lately) I am not swimming in money. That makes options like those presented by agencies such as AuthorHouse interesting, yet expensive. While I do believe that you should be investing in your craft, I of course want to do as much for free or close to free as possible. I have put a lot of my time, blood, sweat, and tears into my work already. As for money, I have paid for this website and I currently have an artist working on an image of myself that I will be posting as an avatar or representation of me to the world once completed. I will be paying for that also. Which I am fine with. She is extremely talented and I feel as though she has undercharged me anyway.

So while I edit, apply for copyrights and hope for Amazon to get back to me in a timely fashion I am also hunting for other self-publishing platforms.

For those established authors out there, or even those who have self-published even one book, any information or advice on this topic would be most appreciated.

Thanks everyone! I promise I’ll start posting more fun things tomorrow as I am going to start talking about my book. Even if I can’t release teaser chapters at this time, I can at least talk about the story and the characters to get you all involved, right? 🙂

Posted by Sarah Jayne in My Book Stuff, 10 comments

Seriously?!

And the response from the Amazon support team was to click on this other link to go through THAT support page. Which I can’t do unless I sign in. And when I sign in I can’t go further until I agree with the KDP agreement…….WHICH I CAN’T DO BECAUSE I AM CONFUUUUUUUUUUSED!!!!

Why is that so hard to understand?!

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 0 comments

Oh! The Tragic Hero! It's just……TRAGIC

So everyone has their own rituals or things they need to do in order to write ‘properly’ and everyone will have their own genre or aspect of writing that they are good at.

My thing is music. There needs to be music playing. I am horribly unable to cope with silence so there is usually some sort of noise going on in my house. Right now I’m sitting at my desk in my office with my headphones on as I am very early for work and no one else is here yet. It’s too quiet.

I don’t really have a specific music I need to be listening to. It’s really whatever strikes my fancy. There are a few necessities that need to be on my iPod or iTunes when I am writing though. First and foremost: Stephan Moccio’s “Exposure” album. I friggin love all that piano shit. It’s just piano. It’s beautiful. To me, anyway. Hell, when I got married I walked down the aisle to the song “Zephyr” and it was wonderful. Depending on what sort of scene I’m writing, I’ll throw Mr. Moccio on the iPod or whatever and pound away at my keyboard.

Other times, I need something exciting. This can usually be met with a variety of J-Pop and J-Rock or some good old 70’s and 80’s rock. Journey is one of my more favourite ones when I’m thinking of older music. Do As Infinity or Rookiez is Punkd for my J-Pop and J-Rock. Of course, there is MUCH MUCH MORE that I listen to and that I like, but that would be an entire post of just what’s in my iTunes library, and I’m sure that would be boring as fuck to read. So, if you want to know any more, just ask me 🙂

When I’m stuck and I just can’t seem to make my story move anywhere, I’ll take a break and just let my iPod go through whatever the hell it wants or I’ll read some manga or watch an anime. If I’m writing a battle scene, I try to read or watch something in a completely different area, like a comedy or romance. On the flip side, if I’m stuck developing romantic relationships I won’t watch my Shojo anime or read my Shojo manga. It’s usually Shonen (manga and anime geared to boys so there’s lots of fighting and robots and stuff) that I turn to or something in the mature stream. It’s a  nice way to clear my head with something I love and won’t overly influence the current thing I’m fighting. *pow!*

Another way to clear my mind is to play a video game. Right now, my games of choice are Borderlands 2, Resonance of Fate, Tales of Vesperia or watching my husband play Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch on PS3. If I REALLY want to play on PS3 myself, I pull out the God of War series and let Kratos beat the living snot out of EVERYTHING in his path. It’s awesome.

As for the things I know that I usually write on: my heroes/heroines are usually of the ‘tragic’ persuasion. So these people have had such a hard life or there’s just something about them that makes everyone around them uneasy and junk. I can’t write fluffy feel-good stories. There is blood. There is murder and killing. There is agony and heartbreak. As I stated before, my stories are not for children and they are probably not to be read by teeny-boppers. Now I understand that just because you’re 14 doesn’t mean you won’t be old enough or mature enough to understand and appreciate the stories I write. I grew up reading Stephen King and John Saul when I was 13+, so I’m with ya there. I’m just saying if you’re looking for something like “Twilight” or “Harry Potter” you might want to look elsewhere.

Will this turn people off my writing? Well, yeah. Probably. But I don’t expect everyone in existence to absolutely love everything I write. I don’t love everything I read, after all.

A lot of the time when I write, I envision what my story would look like it if were an anime or a manga. *heh* Since those are my two loves and that entire culture influences what and how I write sometimes, it’s inevitable. If you’ve never read a manga or watched an anime doesn’t mean  you won’t get my stories.

They are fantasy after all. There’s magic, and swords, sometimes guns and fantastical creatures. If you appreciate the basics of fantasy and love fantasy stories for that reason, you may very well enjoy what I write.

I’m currently waiting for Amazon to get back to me about that Direct to Kindle Publishing issue I previously had. Yeah, I’m still waiting. I contacted them again last night so hopefully I will hear something by the end of this week. I really want to start sharing the details of my stories or posting a chapter or two to gauge some reactions. Even if I get a bunch of people hating on my work, I’m still going to go forward with publishing. If there is constructive criticism, I’ll listen to it and see what I can do before finalizing my draft and submitting it for publishing. But I’m not about to stop or change a whole lot just because one or two people don’t like it. Why? Because I said so. Because this is MY work and if I don’t want to do anything different, I won’t.

I’m sure you guys won’t be assholes though, right? Don’t be assholes. Assholes don’t usually have friends 😛

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 0 comments

Adventures in Editing

So I tried editing my work this weekend while I’m waiting to hear back from Amazon.

Man, is it hard.

The story I’m editing is something I wrote about 4 years ago and I haven’t touched it since. I’m one of those people that when I write, I go all out until I can’t feel my brain any more. So needless to say, I was successful.

Now that I’m trying to edit it so that it’s consistent and actually good I’m finding it a little difficult.

I’m only on page 20 of 315 and man is it slow going. It didn’t help that this weekend I had company from out of town so that drastically cut into my editing time. So, I’m right where I was on Thursday night. Which means I have to step up my game.

I’m currently waiting to hear from Amazon as I was slightly confused about their agreement regarding their Kindle Direct Publishing. When I spoke to customer service on Tuesday I was told I would hear back within 12-24 hours. Nothing yet. They did provide me with a direct link to the support unit I need, so if I don’t hear anything today, I will try to contact them again.

I really want to get this story dressed up and pretty so that I can put her  out there in April at the latest.

Yes, that is a long time from now, but I don’t want to put some piece of crap out there. I’ve been told this particular story is really good when I’ve shared it with a few close friends so I know it has potential. I want the rest of the world to see that potential too. I want people to read this story and fall in love with it. I want them to laugh when they read it. I want them to get excited when something interesting happens. I would be honoured (< I did not correct this, because this is how we spell this word in Canada :P)if people would cry when they read it. And not because it was THAT BAD but because they were so emotionally invested they couldn’t help it. I’ve cried when reading books and manga before. Hell, I cry when I watch anime because I get that into it.

So here’s hoping I hear from the support unit today! The sooner, the better because that means I can put this story out faster. 🙂

Posted by Sarah Jayne in My Book Stuff, 0 comments

Regret is worse than Rejection

Welcome welcome welcome!

My name is Sarah Jayne Nantais and I’ll be your entertainment/pass-time/boredom-killer today.

I decided to set up this website as a way to promote myself and whore the hell out of myself for my next step in my life.

For a long time I’ve been writing. I call them “stories” because since I’ve never been published, I didn’t feel I had the right to call them “novels”.

I write because I want to. I write as a sort of self-therapy and I write for fun. I’ve never been very confident in myself or my abilities although many around me told me my stories are “good” or “great”. I have always thought they just said that because they were my friends/family so I never took the step to get anything I’ve written published.

But now I am taking that step. That jump. That leap. It’s bloody terrifying.

It’s self-publishing, so maybe that’s cheating a bit, but I’m doing it anyway! I’ll be publishing through Kindle Direct Publishing with Amazon and I’ll post when it’s actually available. Right now I’m in correspondence with them to clarify something in the agreement I didn’t understand.

I don’t speak legalease!!! *shakes fist*

Aaaaanyways.

I wasn’t going to do much on this website until I had a few things sorted out, but I can’t wait that long!

I wrote a bit about myself on my “About” page. (that’s what it’s for, right?) so there’s not much to say here that isn’t a repetition.

A lot of my writing is influenced by anime, manga, Japanese folklore, and video games. I just love it all. I can’t tell you why. Sometimes when I write, I envision what the scene would look like if it was in a manga or anime ^^; I’m just like that. Strange I suppose.

Why did I decide to publish NOW and not 10 years ago? Well, this year I turn 30.

Yup. THIRTY.

I decided now was as good a time as any because I didn’t want to regret the fact that I never tried. The worst that can happen from publishing my work is that people hate it.

And that’s okay.

I’m not looking for fame, I’m not looking for fortune, even though it would be nice. I write because I want to.

Hopefully those of you reading this will be interested enough to check it out. Maybe you’ll even buy it when it comes out and wish for more. Maybe you’ll hate it and think it’s lame.

But that’s okay. That’s your opinion and you are allowed to have that.

Just like I’m allowed to try 🙂

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 1 comment